Sydney Swann’s decision to leave the club after a year-long reign as captain is a sign of the club’s ambition to make its return to finals contention this year.
The reigning premiers have played in five finals since 2014, but their dominance at the end of the season was undermined by an ankle injury to Nathan Jones.
With the Swans unable to secure a home final, they had to rely on the power of the Swann-Barry rule, which required a maximum of two players on the field at a time to ensure a maximum margin of victory.
However, Sydney were one of only three clubs in the competition without a first-round match-up, and the Swanny rule will see the club remain in the finals.
Sydney’s backline has improved dramatically in recent years.
Rounding out the top 10 is Carlton, which are the only team in the top six that have played five finals matches since winning the 2017 grand final.
Barry’s rule has allowed the Swains to play two forwards at a game, meaning they have four players on-field at any given time.
With Sydney averaging more than 200 points per game this season, it is likely they will have to play a bit more aggressively to make up the difference, especially if they are to qualify for the finals this year and the premiership.
Swansea City are a long way off the top four, but have been solid in the preliminary final in round two, beating Richmond and Collingwood in a thriller at Etihad Stadium.
The Swans have only won two games in their last six, but are in the final of the competition, with six wins in eight matches, including an emphatic victory over Richmond.
It is a stark contrast to their season in 2016, when they lost their final two games and were eliminated by Hawthorn.
The swans are also a long ways off the bottom of the ladder, with the final-seeded Melbourne Storm on top, but there are concerns they may not make it to the finals for another year.
It will be a new challenge for Swans captain Michael Jennings and defender Alex Rance, who are both still playing at a high level, but they will be keen to make sure they are in a position to help the team to a title run in 2018.
If the Swan’s have to resort to relying on their backline to score goals, the result will be disappointing for the players, the coach and the fans alike.